Reserve Time For You to Be Better Parents
Published: May 24, 2006
My husband and I have had to relearn the art of dating. When we were young, we took for granted the endless nights that we could go out at any time of the day or night to enjoy one another’s company. We preferred dinners out, as we could sit for hours staring into one another’s eyes, sipping wine and enjoying each moment. We’ve even been known to shut a restaurant or two down in the wee hours of the morning, as we simply just loved being out together.
Now with two children, our date nights must be scheduled weeks in advance and penned in on the calendar to ensure that it isn’t overlooked. And it isn’t our schedule that must be considered, but each of our parents, as well.
And when all the planets and stars are aligned, and we get those precious couple of hours to ourselves, we realize that date night has taken on a whole new meaning. It has become mandatory in our lives, to ensure the sanity of being more than just mom and dad – we take the time to remind ourselves that we are also husband and wife.
We’ve been out together a handful of times since the birth of our daughter who is now three months old. The first time we went out was on our anniversary. We went to a restaurant only a couple of blocks away. That way, if we were needed, we would be home in a matter of minutes.
However, as a new mom again, it was virtually impossible to not stop looking at my watch and making phone calls to the house to ensure that my parents were ok with both children. We were gone for a total of two hours. And during that time we also talked non stop about the children.
This was not the romantic date night that I had envisioned for us.
Another time, we decided that we would try and do date night with the children. We drove to a drive-in restaurant and sat in the mini van to eat. This was a colossal mistake. Firstly, it took forty minutes to get our food. So as a result of that, my three year old son, who was on the loose in the van, was asking where his burger and fries were every few minutes. And secondly, my daughter wanted to be breast fed, so I had to sit at the back of the van, to try and breast feed, while my husband attempted to entertain my son in the front of the van.
What was the end result? I wound up with a footprint in my salad and my husband wound up with a very wet lap from the apple juice that was knocked over, which he was trying to hold for my son. And thirdly, if all that wasn’t enough, we had to eat to the very sweet sound of continuous crying from my daughter, who found none of the above very funny. And as I looked around the drive-in at all the very young and happy couples leaning in to one another while they ate their food in peace, I concluded that this was definitely not what date night was supposed to be for us either.
Date night is different for everyone. For some, it can just be a simple conversation together over coffee. For others, it could be taking in a movie or having a quiet dinner. But most importantly, I believe just needs to be a time to reconnect with one another away from the children. Date night is imperative because it helps balance us through these tough parenting years.
So we continue to schedule date night, and we have vowed to do it on a regular basis, so that we can both look forward to it. I’ve realized that the art of dating as husband and wife is to never stop rediscovering all the wonderful things about one another that brought us to parenthood in the first place.
And we have made a promise to one another that our mommy and daddy hats are left at the door when we leave on date night; as they will be still be there on our return to put back on, but this time as better parents, because we’re better partners.